How to stay safe during a lightning storm

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How to stay safe during a lightning storm

According to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS), lightning is the leading weather-related killer in Georgia, (second only to tornadoes) killing one to two people, and injuring 12 people each year, on average. 

GEMA/HS suggests these tips to prepare for severe lightning storms:

Before lightning strikes

• Look for darkening skies, flashes of light, or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder. 

• If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately. 

• Know the 30/30 rule: go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

• Monitor radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts.

When a storm approaches

• Find shelter in a building or car. Keep car windows closed and avoid convertibles. 

• If shelter is not available, go to the lowest area nearby and make yourself the smallest target possible by squatting. Do not lie flat on the ground.

• If on open water, get to land and shelter immediately.

• Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. (Leaving electric lights on, however, does not increase the chances of your home being struck by lightning.)

• Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water.

• Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor.

• Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will help prevent glass from shattering into your home. 

Things to avoid:

• A tall, isolated tree in an open area.

• Hilltops, open fields, the beach, a pool, a boat on the water, isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas.

• Anything metal — tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles. After the Storm Passes 

• Stay away from storm-damaged areas. 

• Listen to the radio or television for information and instructions.

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